Po’ Ramblin’ Boys tear it up on their Opry debut

This past Tuesday evening, the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys fulfilled the lifelong dream of every bluegrass picker when they appeared on the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville.

The Boys have been on an upward trajectory since they appeared on the scene in 2014, knocking down one hurdle after another on their way to the top, mesmerizing audiences all over the world with their hard core, down home style bluegrass. In fact they sound like a band that had been encased in amber back in the ’60s, and just released into an unsuspecting world.

They hit the Opry stage like a freight train, winning a standing ovation from the crowd, quite rare for an act making their first Opry performance. Announcer Bill Cody brought them on, and as the Boys were leaving the stage after their three song segment, he told them to turn around and have a look as everyone was on their feet.

Mandolinist C.J. Lewandowski shared some details about this special night…

“We were invited to play the Ole Smoky/Yee Haw Beer grand opening in Nashville back in September. It was a combination fundraiser for the Opry Trust Fund. There were several acts that the Opry asked to have there, and we were one of them. They didn’t know we were affiliated with or worked for Ole Smoky, so it was surprising to us that they had heard of us. We thought the benefit was a great thing and wanted to be a part of it, and also thought it would help us to one day possibly get a chance to work with the Opry. We never thought it would happen so quick, or it would be an actual debut with The Grand Ole Opry.”

Not even a month after that benefit, our manager got a call asking us if we would like to debut on the Opry. I was in the lobby of Marriott at IBMA when I got the call, and I may have said a few choice words very loud when Mike told me we were debuting! lol

We got our three songs, which was great because each of us singers got to sing a song. At the end of our portion, the crowd stood up as we were walking off stage. Bill Cody got our attention and told us to soak it all in. Standing ovations rarely ever happened on debuts, according to several Opry employees.

Bill said ‘People are on their feet in the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN. Stay right there, don’t go too fast. These are too hard to come by, these standing ovations. What an emotional moment for them… for all of us who are here tonight to see that.’  

It was truly incredible.”

After a chuckle, Cody – who knows his bluegrass – added…

“House lights are up, people are on their feet… The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys – and girl – have just made their Grand Ole Opry debut. Congratulations… we’re honored to be a part of your special night.

And congratulations on that new album and its success. Toil, Tears, and Trouble… that just sounds like good bluegrass, doesn’t it.”

In addition to C.J., the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys are Jereme Brown on banjo, Josh Rinkel on guitar, and Jasper Lorentzen on bass. Laura Orshaw was also with them on fiddle.

Let us add our congratulations to the Boys for continuing to represent the unvarnished sound of traditional bluegrass to the masses, and for such a stellar debut on the Opry!

Update 10/10: The good folks at the Grand Ole Opry shared this video of the moments described here, and you can see both the reactions off the Opry House audience, and the band as they are warmly welcomed after their set.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.